Chart-topping products of the year

Nearly everyone likes lists.Whatever the list details — best vehicles, top music picks, hit films or videos, ranking sports teams — it’s fun to check them out.

Ten companies whose products made the pages of Rural Builder magazine in 2009 are especially going to like this list, and so will readers. The products in this spotlight got the best reader responses, measured by the numbers of people who circled the Reader Service Numbers and requested more information about those particular items.

In 2009, far and away, the innovative Solar Generator that ran in the February issue was the most-often requested. The nine other “winners” range from the decidedly offbeat to the new, the practical and the tried-and-true products in the industry.

 Here are the Top 10 from 2009. In case you missed them the first time, it’s another chance to circle the numbers and learn more about the hottest items on the pages of New Products, Product Profiles and Rural Builder Innovations sections from 2009.

Spirit of the Sun Solar Systems
Spirit of the Sun Solar Systems (S.O.S), LLC has developed a state-of-the-art solar generator that supplies all the power needed (and then some) to run saws, drills, vacuums, sanders, planers, routers, fans, lighting and even refrigeration on the job site. Dan Jones, founder and president, became interested in solar generators to power his hunting camps. Then he realized the generator was a necessity for the construction industry. It provides mobile solar energy to settings which otherwise have no power.

JLG LiftPod
The JLG LiftPod just may be in place to replace the ladder. JLG Industries, Inc.’s Lift Pod was awarded the Show Stopper Award from among nearly 300 exhibitors at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) 2008 convention and trade show.
At 25 percent the cost and weight of traditional work platforms, the LiftPod is a lightweight tool that can be used for a number of maintenance and repair jobs in almost any building type. It reaches a 14-foot working height and is operated using a common 18-volt drill or optional power pack. Easily portable, it can be stowed in a pick-up truck, van or SUV.
JLG  Industries, Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, manufactures aerial work platforms and telescopic material handlers.

Post Protector
Guard against premature post decay resulting from moisture, micro organisms, insect infestation, concrete encasement, soil contact while ensuring consistent post quality with Post Protector. Introduced 10 years ago in the post-frame industry, Post Protector is available to complement and protect decks, pergolas, sunrooms and other “post in the ground” projects.

Sand Creek Post & Beam
Windmills are still in use, although not as extensively as in the past. Now, they’re making a comeback in several different variations. Sand Creek Post & Beam wood tower windmills are historical replicas and feature Aermotor pump systems to be fully functional or as a picturesque focal point for rural acreage.
The windmill towers feature posts and beams in full dimension rough sawn ponderosa or southern yellow pine. They are constructed with 6×6 posts with 4×4 bracing and are offered in 16-, 20- and 24-foot heights and can be shipped pre-assembled or as a package.  The kit includes a heavy duty wood tower platform, tower anchor plates and a ladder or step system.

The builders’ choice for structural insulated panels for a long time, Enercept makes a superior SIP that is fully customized to project specifications. Enercept was the original patent holder for its electrical chase system and thermally broken connecting posts. A six-step process helps building projects flow more quickly and smoothly, making it easier to build more homes per season. Enercept makes basement, wall, roof and floor panels for all applications.

Extreme Panel Tech
Extreme Panels makes structural insulated panels for residential, commercial and agricultural buildings. Conducive to green building, SIPs save energy. OSB comes from fast-growth trees, with mills located in strategic locations to limit shipping and control O2 emission. The super-tight envelope reduces energy demand and promotes a healthy indoor environment. Increased energy efficiency does more to protect the environment than filling the home with so-called green products. Reduced energy demand means decreased greenhouse gases emitted to atmosphere.

The company promotes its forms as builder-friendly and strong, with a thicker and more solid 2-3/4-inch foam panel on every form.

Owens Corning
Owens Corning Fold-Form Insulated Concrete Forms consist of pre-assembled interlocking sections of high-density expanded polystyrene foam. Buildings built with Fold-Form provide energy efficiency, noise control and resistance to natural disasters and offer a high quality alternative to traditional wood frame construction. In university tests, Fold-Form solid concrete walls were proven to be the best protection against flying debris in winds up to 250 mph, when compared to conventional framing and hollow concrete block walls.

Socket Systems
Socket Systems manufactures a steel coupling system called Lumber Link. This 1/4-inch plate steel joins 6×6 timbers to create a clear span building up to 30 feet wide and 60 feet wide using 6×8 timbers.
Frames are assembled on the ground with a choice of gable or gambrel roof and raised into place using the foot locking system. No cranes or lifting equipment is needed.
A second floor can be installed using metal I-beams or wood members.
Vertical supports are not set into cement to eventually rot, but are safe inside the foot fixture. Lumber Link uses no treated lumber and less wood than typical trusses.


Eco-Block ICFs snap together to create walls of virtually any thickness, from 4 inches on up in 2-inch increments.

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